The huge, $27 million statue (“African Renaissance”) being built in Dakar, Senegal, was conceived to boost tourism and be a point of African pride, acting as a magnet for visitors and museum-goers. Problems have arisen (the statue was built by North Korean labor, has no distinct African theme, and features a female who reveals perhaps too much thigh). However, according to a November BBC News dispatch, Senegal’s president Abdoulaye Wade remains optimistic and has declared that, though the concept was his idea, he personally will magnanimously take only 35 percent of the revenue streams generated from visitors.
By 2004 presidential proclamation and 2007 statute, the U.S. government made it clear that no foreign official or family members would be allowed into the country if they are “involved in corruption” regarding oil or other natural resources in their home countries. However, as The New York Times reported in November, Equatorial Guinea’s oil minister (and son of its president) owns a $35 million estate in Malibu, Calif., that he visits regularly in his Gulfstream jet even though the U.S. Justice Department regards him as a major agent of corruption. (U.S. companies manage Equatorial Guinea’s oil production, and the State Department is reluctant to challenge the country, according to officials cited by the Times.)